Today (Thursday), at Lake Dyer, Bills Moorhead and Jolly set up adjacent
identical scopes trained on adjacent Painted Snipe.
Let me backtrack. Bill M had decided at very short notice to drop everything
and drive from Bundaberg to the Lockyer Valley (a five hour journey) in
pursuit of bird 589 on his Aussie list. Within 30 minutes of arriving at
Abberton we were jointly, but independently focussed on a Painted Snipe.
But our scopes were about 2 metres apart, and Bill M was claiming a female
Snipe, while Bill J was asserting it was a male at best, and
probably a juvenile. "But it's over there between the two rocks" said Bill
M. Great! That's like saying it's over there in the green tree!
You might have read Bill Oddie's two-bird theory - but this situation needed
a two-rock theory to boot. All Bill M could see was the most magnificent
female Painted Snipe, that he'd been dreaming of for thirty years, and
pursuing actively for ten. All Bill J could see was a not very exciting
juvenile - until I scanned to the right and found another juvenile! What
was Bill M talking about? John Hadley was there too, very experienced, very
on the ball, and only seeing a male/juvenile.
The answer of course is that there were three birds out there. Only a moment
later, having deduced which two rocks Bill M was talking about, there was
the female! I've been lucky enough to see five or six Painted Snipe in the
Lockyer - but this was the most immaculate female Painted Snipe I have ever
been fortunate enough to view. Bill M of course had found the female
straight away, and had been looking at nothing else all along. It just took
us a while to catch up with him!
Well, we really tried not to flush the birds, but we did. The three headed
off across the lake and settled together not too far away on an adjacent
muddy fringe. We have the collective feeling that one of the photos which we
clicked away in unison might be OK. If any of them are I'll post them on the
Lockyer Valley, Queensland.
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